Undead, by Kirsty McKay
Bobby has recently moved back to England after spending most of her childhood in America and hates every minute of her new life. Believing that the experience will do her daughter good and help her make friends, Bobby’s mother has packed her off on a school skiing trip to Scotland where she is generally shunned and mocked for her accent and Americanisms. As the group begin their journey home Bobby reflects that the whole trip has been an absolute nightmare and that she can’t wait to get away from everyone.
And then the school trip from hell takes a turn for the worse.
When the school bus stops outside the Cheery Chomper cafe so that everyone can refuel before the long journey home, Bobby decides that she would rather stay on board [and even risk the bus toilet] that socialise with her classmates. Self-styled class rebel Smitty is also left behind on the bus when their teacher, Mr Taylor, decides to punish him for an earlier incident involving fake ID and an attempt to buy alcohol. This turns out to be a lucky break for both Bobby and Smitty as, just minutes after everyone has left, class Queen Bee Alice [the Regina George character] is banging on the bus door, shrieking that everyone in the cafe is dead.
The situation gets even trickier when the dead start walking and demonstrate that they still have a disturbingly healthy appetite.
Kirsty McKay’s Undead is an exciting, contemporary zombie tale. Just when Bobby thinks that things can’t get any worse for her, they frequently do. Avoiding being mocked by your classmates is one thing, avoiding being eaten by them is quite a different prospect and so there are many tense and dangerous moments in store for Bobby. Having said that, she quickly rises to the Resident Evil style challenge, with Bobby and Smitty bonding to become a dynamite zombie bashing duo.
While Alice does have some good one-liners, she’s not really the ideal company to spend a zombie apocalypse with and so Bobby and Smitty exercise great self-control in not using her as a human shield at the first possible opportunity. Rounding off their gang of wannabe survivors is class nerd Pete who manages to withstand the first wave of doom by hiding in a toilet and is able to contribute some interesting conspiracy theories as the group tries to figure out what has happened.
Undead is a fun mix of thrills, spills and gore-lite. It’s a traditional zombie yarn given something of an X-Files meets Saved By The Bell twist and has enough excitement and intrigue to keep readers hooked until the flesh-biting conclusion.